There are many ways to avoid deportation in the United States. One of the most prominent is a voluntary departure, which allows an immigrant to leave the country without the penalties of a deportation order. But, what is it and how to apply for voluntary departure? What are the benefits? Today we will see everything you need to know about this resource and how to take advantage of it.
If you are going through deportation proceedings, Urbina Immigration Law can help you. Our attorneys can analyze your situation and advise you on the best possible course of action. Tell us your case and let’s defend together your rights to stay in the place you have chosen as your home.
Table of Contents
What is voluntary departure?
Voluntary Departure” is an option to leave the U.S. on your own, avoiding deportation and its consequences. It may be requested at the beginning of the case (“pre-hearing”) or at the end of the hearing. Unlike “removal,” it implies that DHS wants to deport, but the individual requests to leave “voluntarily”, at his or her own expense.
However, not everyone qualifies and the consequences vary. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the advice of an immigration attorney to discuss other types of deportation defenses before applying for voluntary departure. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and let us defend your rights.
Who can apply for voluntary departure?
The requirements for applying for voluntary departure from the United States vary depending on whether you apply before or after your hearing. In the following table you will find the requirements for each case:
|For Voluntary Departure pre-hearing
|For Voluntary Departure at the conclusion of the hearing
|Request on or before the date of the final hearing.
|Have been in the U.S. for at least one year prior to the Notice to Appear.
|Acknowledge unlawful presence in the U.S.
|Post a bond of at least $500.
|Withdraw or waive any application to remain in the U.S.
|Demonstrate intent and resources to leave the U.S.
|Demonstrate intent and resources to leave the U.S.
|Demonstrate good citizenship conduct for the past five years.
|Demonstrate good citizenship.
|Present a valid passport or travel document.
|No felony convictions (consult with an attorney if you have a prior criminal record)
How to apply for voluntary departure?
Now, how to apply for voluntary departure from the United States? The process can be summarized in the following steps:
Step 1: Assess your situation
Determine if voluntary departure is the best option for your case. Check to see if you qualify for other types of deportation defenses, such as asylum or cancellation of removal. Keep in mind that your decision could affect your chances of returning to the United States. Therefore, it is best to consult with an immigration attorney before proceeding with your application.
Step 2: Prepare for the application
Once you have decided to apply for voluntary departure, you must gather evidence to present to the judge. This should include certain documentation of evidence of your good conduct, your relationship to a citizen or resident relative, proof of financial self-sufficiency, travel documents, etc.
Step 3: Inform the Judge
At the hearing, inform the judge of your desire to avail yourself of this legal remedy. There is no voluntary departure form; you must simply request it verbally.
Step 4: Post Bail (if required)
If the judge grants voluntary departure, you may be required to pay a bond ranging from $500 and up. However, if certain conditions are met, the bond will be returned to you once you leave the United States.
Please note that the consequences of a voluntary departure may affect your chances of re-entering the country. Therefore, it is best to consult with an attorney to guide you through the deportation defense process. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and secure your stay in the United States.
Documentation required to apply for voluntary departure
Although there is no voluntary departure form, you must submit the following documentation:
- Letters of support from family, friends, religious leaders or employers certifying that you are a person of good citizenship (all letters must include an English translation and a certificate of translation).
- Birth certificates, copies of green cards or any other documentation showing that your relatives are citizens or legal permanent residents.
- Copies of marriage certificate (if your spouse is a citizen or legal permanent resident).
- Certificates of completed classes.
- Proof that you are the breadwinner in your family.
- Documentation of employment, utility bills, or other evidence showing the length of time you have been in the United States.
- Financial evidence that you can afford to leave the U.S. (e.g., bank statements).
- Copies of your passport or travel document proving that you can enter your country.
- Any other documentation demonstrating good citizenship.
Gathering all this documentation can be a challenge. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the help of an attorney who can discriminate what kind of documents could serve as evidence. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Talk to a lawyer and let’s get your papers in order.
Benefits of voluntary departure from the United States
Some of the main benefits of voluntary departure from the U.S. are:
- No Deportation Order: You will not have to deal with the consequences of a deportation order, which could prevent you from returning to the United States for up to ten years or disqualify you from certain immigration benefits. By taking Voluntary Departure, you could return to the country much faster.
- More Legal Return Opportunities: Opting for voluntary departure, you may be able to apply for a visa to return to the United States from your home country. In addition, if you have family members who are citizens or residents, they may be able to petition for you through the family reunification process. These opportunities would not be available if you had a deportation order on your record.
Please note that the consequences of a voluntary departure vary from case to case. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice to analyze all options for deportation defense. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Talk to a lawyer and secure your stay in the United States.
What are the consequences if I do not leave the country by the deadline established in my voluntary departure?
If you do not leave the country under the terms of the voluntary departure, it becomes a formal order of deportation, enforced by an immigration judge. A 10-year bar from re-entering the U.S. and fines of up to $5,000 are imposed.
What is considered an illegal re-entry to the United States?
Under the immigration laws, returning or remaining in the United States without government approval after the following circumstances is classified as illegal reentry:
Leaving the United States with an outstanding order of deportation or removal.
Having been denied entry into the United States by the authorities.
Being deported from the United States.
Being removed from the United States.
How long does it take to resolve a deportation appeal?
Can I be readmitted to the United States after being deported?
Request voluntary departure with a professional
As we have seen, voluntary departure from the United States is a great resource to be able to leave the country avoiding the consequences of deportation. This allows you to return legally, either through a visa or family reunification. However, the consequences vary and may affect your chances of returning to the United States.
Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney who can help you find the best option to defend yourself against deportation. Don’t risk your future by facing this tough process on your own. Contact us today and secure your stay in the country you have chosen as your home.
US Department of Justice – Voluntary Departure Information